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Archive for September, 2005

INFLUX – I Got Held Up… (Bunkeruk Records)

Posted: September 22nd, 2005, by Alasdair R

Sweaty, dumb and vacuous fun – Influx are fit to burst with ambition.

Their recent single ‘I Got Held Up…’ finds the band apparently fired up by secrets, lies and traffic. Oh the complicated joys of car ownership and dating. A not bad effort, it doesn’t shine as brightly as the band achingly want it too.

B-Side ‘When It Got Light’ is a much closer realisation of the band’s strengths. Fast, vital, but still rough round the edges, it is the soundtrack to the best half-remembered great lads nights out. It is (almost) as satisfying as getting off your face, stopping your mate starting a fight he couldn’t finish and falling in love with your best friend all over again.


VOLCANO THE BEAR – Catonapotato (Digitalis/Broken Face)

Posted: September 21st, 2005, by Crayola

As far as explorations of sound and spontaneous music go right now Volcano the Bear are where it’s at.
For this album VtB are a duo, the songs recorded at various different venues in early 2004.
What grabs me most?
Yes, sounds shift in and out of focus as you might expect with this kind of music – atmospheres drift, there are vocal yelps and sighs punctuating animal asides – there are even what appears to be the occassional lyrical structure.
And it’s all being underpinned by rhythm pure and simple.
Sometimes it’s tribal tinged, sometimes it reminds me of no-one other than The Shaggs.
And it’s so damn refreshing.
I like Hans Benninck of course.
I like improvised drums that rumble and shout and fall over and make you laugh or frown or cover your ears, but sometimes that’s just wandering in the darkness.
I’m not sure exactly what it is I’m trying to get at except that this is spontaneous music that drives like rock’n’roll and WE ALL LOVE rock’n’roll.
Did I mention wandering in the darkness?
This album is blazing in the light.

MON ELECTRIC BIJOU – Bullets in the Penguin

Posted: September 21st, 2005, by Crayola

These guys hail from Canada though as soon as the s-l-o-o-o-o-w opening track, “The Large Glass” starts you’d swear they lived in the swampy deep south of the USA.
I guess that’s not such a strange thing when you consider it – Cajun music and the music of French-Canada must have roots in some pretty similar history.
If I’m missing something obvious here please let me know.
Anyhow, I digress.
Mon Electric Bijou then make some good, sturdy, less-chords-is-more rock’n’roll.
There’s some nice vocal harmonies going on too. Just enough to add flavour rather than showmanship.
I’m not making much sense am I?
Let’s try again. The nearest comparison that springs to mind is the Magic Numbers though that’s based solely on the one song I’ve heard by that particular musical unit.
I’m listening to the record for the first time as I type this and the further into the album I get the more I like the understated nature of it all.
Any of the songs on this record could be BIG rock numbers but MeB hold back in just the right ways. The bass is nicely overdriven – just enough to create some dirt without becoming dingy. The guitars are all recorded pretty clean but still they rock.
You know what? I think I like this.
Buy one from them I guess: www.monelectricbijou.com

LIKE A STUNTMAN – Fresh Air is not the Worst Thing in Town (Highpoint Lowlife, HPLL012)

Posted: September 20th, 2005, by Crayola

Now this is where it’s at.
I know absolutely nothing about Like a Stuntman – I’ve not bothered googling them even. I don’t really care about the details.
All I know is that this is an astonishing record.
Let’s get the usual lazy journo nonsense out of the way: Like a Stuntman nod towards Pavement circa “Brighten the Corners”, but it’s only a nod. There’s so much more.
The opening song, “We’re not in Brazil”, comes over all post rock tunefulness. It’s playful, the lyrics daubed across the melody like a Jackson Pollock (Jeez, look at me coming over all pretentious!), a good song.
But then it does something interesting.
There appears to be a glitch-core geek hiding in the corners of the studio feeding everything the band does through his little laptop and messing with it.
While ‘the guys’ play on this nerd breaks everything up with clicks and splutters and IT WORKS!
This album then is the sound of Pavement at their most avant or Gastr at their most tuneful mixed by someone who prefers Ratser-Noton releases to anything that’s ever come out on Drag City.
Further into the album the glitch takes over.
For a short time, as on “Kingkongs”, the nerd seems to be winning the fight only to have control wrestled back by the band.
I don’t want to find out more about Like a Stuntman.
I want to carry on believing that after recording, the band hunted their studio space for the little sod who fucked everything up.

Things I Like! Or Not!

Posted: September 18th, 2005, by Ollie

Long overdue.

Blood Red Shoes 7″ on Jonson Family
Little White Lies magazine
The onset of massive autumn gig action
Last.fm – Get with it already

Learning the hard way that being an office temp is no fun at all
ATP still being about a year away
The end of film as we know it

Tribute Bands

Posted: September 15th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

I joined a tribute band. Its only for one gig. Maybe two. I can’t decide if this is lame or not but I’m looking forward to it. My friend Phill is John Paul Jones in a Led Zep tribute and assures me it’s a blast. This conveniently allows me to inform anyone in or near Nottingham to keep December 20 free and then they can make their own minds up. Not only is it Gareth Hardwicks birthday it’s also Sneinton Stooges at Junktion 7. Plug over. And out.

SIMON HEARTFIELD – Permanent Way (Hackpen Records)

Posted: September 15th, 2005, by Alasdair R

With this sharp, stylish and dark collection of techno-house Simon Heartfield has produced a record to be proud of. With splintered confidence Permanent Way provides an atmospheric journey through backstreets, basements and bedsits. At times haunting, at others exhilarating, the listener is treated to a story of restlessness and resentment, told only through textured beats and buried samples.

Mixing elements of break beat, electro, house, techno and punk Heartfield has produced dance music that is very much of the moment. There are flashes of retro house that take me back to basement raves I’ve never been to alongside outstanding fractured drum patterns that I expect to be dancing to in the near future.

Hackpen Records

ARSEY ROB – Stole My Girlfriend (Beerglass Records)

Posted: September 14th, 2005, by Alasdair R

I can’t play any musical instruments. I quite fancied learning to play the drums but as the few lessons I took gave me earache I quickly realised that I was not destined for a career in percussion. At school I had to take up the recorder and keyboards for a short period of time but I showed no flair for either (unless you counted being able to play the recorder through your nose a talent). I was told that I couldn’t sing when I tried out for my school’s yearly musical, ending my career in musical theatre before it could begin.

All the while I’ve still thought ‘I could do that’ when I’ve heard the likes of Mylo, Fat Boy Slim or Moby on the radio. I’m much more computer literate than musically gifted and I guess I’ve had an unfounded suspicion that I could knock up a half decent tune if I had the right software.

It sounds like Arsey Rob has had a similar suspicion and has produced an album that he imagines to be much more than half decent. I will have to disagree and say that on the whole listening to Stole My Girlfriend is as exciting as watching a film you’ve already seen too many times before and you didn’t much like it the first time either.

When done well electronica can seem blindingly simple and life enriching, or at least fun to dance to. Arsey Rob Stole My Girlfriend isn’t even half way there. This record makes me realise that making fun and exciting music on a computer must be harder than playing a recorder with your nose.

beerglass records

Mobile Phone needed!

Posted: September 13th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

See I was wearing Farahs and they ride up into your crotch when you sit down and anything in the pockets gets thrown out like lemmings on a cliff edge and so, it came to pass, that my long suffering mobile (that has been round the world with me twice) and me were separated last Thursday in a cab in Sneinton.
I thought “I don’t need a mobile, I lived for over 20 years without one for god’s sake” but alas, I cannot do it. I need to send puerile toilet humour to my friends via text message. I have spoken to my girlfriend twice in a fortnight and she lives round the corner!
SO! GIVE ME YOUR SPARE PHONES. I will swap it for something if you want, pay postage: whatever. Obviously, a camera phone would be shit hot but anything will do.


Posted: September 13th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

I’m only partway through the second track, but this is already probably my favourite album of the year [I wonder how many more times I’ll say that before January? I’m impressionable and I have a short attention span]. Take the warmest, fuzziest, poppiest bits of My Bloody Valentine, Pale Saints, Ecstasy Of Saint Theresa, Velvet Underground, Jesus & Mary Chain, Telescopes, Spacemen 3, all the people that Dead Meadow are ripping off, add some fjords, glaciers and funny accents, and you have absolute pop perfection. Is it original? Of course not. Does it matter? Hell no. Suddenly it’s 1988 all over again, and that, as far I’m aware, is a good thing.